Ashgabat (Turkmen: Aşgabat,
pronounced [ɑʃʁɑˈbɑt̪]; Russian:
Ашхабад, tr. Ashkhabad, IPA: [ɐʂxɐˈbat]) — named
Poltoratsk (Russian: Полтора́цк,
IPA: [pəltɐˈrat͡sk]) between 1919 and 1927, is the capital
and the largest city of
Turkmenistan in Central Asia, situated between
Karakum Desert and the
Kopet Dag mountain range.
The city was founded in 1881, and made the capital of the Turkmen
Soviet Socialist Republic in 1924. Much of the city was destroyed by
1948 Ashgabat earthquake
1948 Ashgabat earthquake but has since seen extensive renovation
under President Niyazov's urban renewal project. The Karakum Canal
runs through the city, carrying waters from the
Amu Darya from east to
5.1 First Baha'i Temple in the world
5.2 After 1991
7 Science and education
9 Notable buildings
9.3 Parks and squares
9.3.1 Halk Hakydasy Memorial Complex
11 International relations
11.1 Twin towns and sister cities
14 External links
Ashgabat is called Aşgabat in Turkmen, Ашхабад (Ashkhabad) in
Russian, and Ešq-ābād (عشقآباد) in Persian. Before 1991,
the city was usually spelled Ashkhabad in English, a transliteration
of the Russian form. It has also been variously spelled Ashkhabat and
Ashgabad. From 1919 until 1927 the city was renamed Poltoratsk after a
The name means "city of love" or "city of devotion". Some Turkmen
scholars insist that the name goes back to the Parthian era, 3rd
century BC, deriving from the name of the founder of the Parthian
Arsaces I of Parthia, in Persian Ashk-Abad (the city of
Ashgabat is a relatively young city, having been founded in 1881 as a
fortification and named after the nearby settlement of Askhabad (lit.
beloved city in Turkmen). Located not far from the site of Nisa,
the ancient capital of the Parthian Empire, it grew on the ruins of
Silk Road city of Konjikala, first mentioned as a wine-producing
village in the 2nd century BC and leveled by an earthquake in the 1st
century BC (a precursor of the 1948
Ashgabat earthquake). Konjikala
was rebuilt because of its advantageous location on the
Silk Road and
it flourished until its destruction by Mongols in the 13th century.
After that it survived as a small village until
Russians took over in
the 19th century.
A part of
Persia until the Battle of Geok Tepe, Askhabad was ceded to
Russian Empire under the terms of the Akhal Treaty. Russia
developed the area as it was close to the border of British-influenced
Persia, and the population grew from 2,500 in 1881 to 19,428 (of whom
one third were Persian) in 1897. It was regarded as a pleasant town
with European style buildings, shops, and hotels. In 1908, the first
Bahá'í House of Worship
Bahá'í House of Worship was built in Askhabat. It was badly damaged
in the 1948 earthquake and finally demolished in 1963. The
community of the Bahá'í Faith in
Turkmenistan was largely based in
Soviet rule was established in
Ashgabat in December 1917. However, in
July 1918, a coalition of Mensheviks, Social Revolutionaries, and
Tsarist former officers of the
Imperial Russian Army
Imperial Russian Army revolted against
Bolshevik rule emanating from
Tashkent and established the
Ashkhabad Executive Committee. After receiving some support (but even
more promises) from General Malleson, the British withdrew in April
1919 and the
Tashkent Soviet resumed control of the city.
In 1919, the city was renamed Poltoratsk (Полторацк), after
Pavel Poltoratsky, the Chairman of the Soviet of National Economy of
the Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. When the
Turkmen SSR was established in 1924, Poltoratsk became its capital.
The original name (in the form of "Ashkhabad") was restored in
1927. From this period onward, the city experienced rapid growth
and industrialisation, although severely disrupted by a major
earthquake on October 6, 1948. An estimated 7.3 on the Richter
scale, the earthquake killed 110-176,000 (⅔ of the
population of the city), although the official number announced by
Soviet news was only 40,000.
In July 2003, street names in
Ashgabat were replaced by serial numbers
except for nine major highways, some named after Saparmurat Niyazov,
his father, and his mother. The
Presidential Palace Square was
designated 2000 to symbolize the beginning of the 21st century. The
rest of the streets were assigned larger or smaller four-digit
numerical names. Following Niyazov's death in 2006, Soviet-era street
names were restored, though in the years since, many of them have been
replaced with names honoring Turkmen scholars, poets, military heroes,
and figures from art and culture.
In 2013, the city was included in the
Guinness Book of Records
Guinness Book of Records as the
world's highest concentration of white marble buildings.
1882–1918 – administrative center of Russia's Transcaspian Region
1918–1925 – administrative center of the Turkmen Oblast in
since February 1925 – capital of Turkmen SSR
since October 1991 – capital of independent Turkmenistan
Ashgabat is divided into the following districts:
Archabil District (Turkmen: Arçabil etraby, Арчабильский)
Berkararlyk District (Turkmen: Berkararlyk etraby,
Kopetdag District (Turkmen: Köpetdag etraby,
Bagtyyarlyk District (Turkmen: Bagtyýarlyk etraby,
Chandybil District (Turkmen: Çandybil etraby,
In 2013, the following areas from
Ahal Region merged with Ashgabat
Abadan District (Turkmen: Abadan etraby, Абаданский)
Ruhabad District (Turkmen: Ruhabat etraby, Рухабадский)
According to estimates of the 2012 Turkmen census the Turkmen form 85%
of the city's population.
Russians form 7.7% of the population,
Armenians (1.5%), Turks (1.1%),
Uzbeks (1.1%), and Azeris
First Baha'i Temple in the world
Bahá'í House of Worship
Bahá'í House of Worship 1908
Main article: Bahá'í Faith in Turkmenistan
Ashgabat was under Russian rule, the number of Bahá'ís in the
city rose to over 1,000, and a Bahá'í community was established,
with its own schools, medical facilities and cemetery. The community
elected one of the first Bahá'í local administrative institutions.
In 1908 the Bahá'í community completed the construction of the first
Bahá'í House of Worship, sometimes referred to by its Arabic name of
mašriqu-l-'aḏkār (Arabic: مشرق اﻻذكار), where
people of all religions may worship
God without denominational
restrictions. The building was designed under the guidance of
`Abdu'l-Bahá by Ustad' Ali-Akbar Banna Yazdi who also wrote a history
of the Baha'is in Ashgabat.
The House of Worship itself was surrounded by gardens, with four
buildings at the four corners of the gardens: a school, a hostel where
travelling Bahá'ís were entertained, a small hospital, and a
building for groundskeepers.
Under the Soviet policy towards religion, the Bahá'ís, strictly
adhering to their principle of obedience to legal government,
abandoned these properties in 1928. For the decade from 1938 to
1948, when it was seriously damaged by the earthquake, it was an art
gallery. It was demolished in 1963.
After exiting the Soviet Union, the city gained many high-rise
residential buildings. Modern construction techniques allow high-rise
development (mainly 12 storeys) with relatively good protection
against earthquakes. Primarily consisting of residential towers, the
first floor is typically given a shopping area and a service
department. Many of the buildings are made of white marble. The Arch
of Neutrality was dismantled and re-erected in its original form in
the south of the capital.
Turkmenistan Tower, at a height of 211
meters, is the tallest building in the country.
Ashgabat is primarily a government and administrative centre. The
business centre of
Ashgabat is on the Archabil highway. Construction
of several ministries and departments, teaching and research and
cultural centres is complete. Development of office buildings and
public spaces along the avenue continues.
Panorama of Ashgabat
The principal industries are cotton textiles and metal working. It is
a major stop on the Trans-Caspian railway. A large percentage of the
Ashgabat is provided by the state institutions; such as
the ministries, undersecretariats, and other administrative bodies of
Turkmenistan government. There are also many foreign citizens
working as diplomats or clerks in the embassies of their respective
Ashgabat lends its name to the
Ashgabat agreement, signed
by India, Oman, Iran, Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, for
creating an international transport and transit corridor facilitating
transportation of goods between
Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.
More than 43 large and 128 medium-sized industrial enterprises along
with over 1,700 small industrial facilities are located in Ashgabat
and its suburbs. The most important are “Ashneftemash”,
“Turkmenkabel”, “Turkmenbashi Textile Complex” etc.
Turkmen carpets in
Altyn Asyr Bazaar
Both locals and visitors go to
Altyn Asyr Bazaar
Altyn Asyr Bazaar in Choganly, where
many items, including traditional fabrics and hand-woven carpets, can
be bought. Modern shopping areas are mostly found in central streets,
including the modern Turkish mall Ýimpaş and shopping centers
Paýtagt and Aşgabat. The local residents like traditional
bazaars: Russian bazaar, Teke bazaar,
Daşoguz bazaar, Mir bazaar,
Jennet bazaar, etc. Yimpas closed as of December 2016.
Ashgabat International Airport
The city is served by the
Ashgabat International Airport. Turkmenistan
Airlines has its headquarters in the city.
Ashgabat offers air
service to and from all the major cities of the Turkmenistan, as well
as some destinations in Asia and Europe, especially in countries that
are members of the CIS.
Ashgabat is served by the following foreign
airlines: Belavia, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, S7 Airlines, flydubai,
China Southern Airlines
China Southern Airlines and
The Trans-Caspian Railway (Turkmenbashi -
Ashgabat - Mary - Türkmenabat) runs through
Ashgabat from east to
west. Since 2006 there as also been a train line towards the north,
the Trans Karakum railway. In May 2009 the restoration of Ashgabat
railway station was completed.
Ashgabat there are two intercity bus stations, one located near the
Teke Bazaar, the second at the old airport. There are daily buses to
Archman, Dashoguz and Turkmenabat. The new International Passenger Bus
Ashgabat was commissioned on September 5, 2014.
Public transport in the city consists mainly of buses. More than 60
bus lines cover a total range of more than 2,230 kilometres (1,386
miles) with 700 buses running on urban routes. Currently the city
primarily uses Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai buses. Bus timetables and
detailed schematic map of the route are at every stop. Distances
between stops are about 300–500 meters. From October 19, 1964 to
December 31, 2011 the city also had the
Ashgabat trolleybus system. At
the beginning of the twentieth century narrow-gauge railway operated
by steam-power, connecting the city with the suburbs Firyuza.
On 18 October 2006, the
Ashgabat Cable Car opened, connecting the city
with the foothills of the Kopetdag.
Ashgabat Monorail commenced service in 2016, becoming the first
monorail in the
Central Asia region.
In January 2018 it was reported that black cars had been impounded for
weeks in Ashgabat, a result of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov's
conviction that black cars bring bad luck.
Science and education
Ashgabat is the most important educational center of
a large number of places of education.
Turkmen State University
Turkmen State University was
founded in 1950: the main university building is located in Saparmurat
Turkmenbashi Avenue. The
Turkmen State Medical University is situated
Ashgabat also: it reports to the Ministry of Health and the medical
industry of Turkmenistan. Other prominent institutions are the Turkmen
State Institute of Economics and Management, a main business school
founded in 1980, as well as the Turkmen State Institute of
Architecture and Construction and The National Institute of Sports and
Tourism of Turkmenistan. There is only one foreign university -
International Turkmen-Turkish University. In 2016, Technology
University of Oguzhan was opened with Japanese education support and
subjects are taught in English and Japanese.
The Kopet-Dag mountain range is about 25 kilometres (16 mi) to
the south, and Ashgabat's northern boundary touches the Kara-Kum
desert. Because of this
Ashgabat has an arid climate with hot, dry
summers and cool, short winters. The average high temperature in July
is 38.3 °C (100.9 °F). Nighttimes in the summer are warm,
with an average minimum temperature in July of 23.8 °C
(75 °F). The average January high temperature is 8.6 °C
(47.5 °F), and the average low temperature is −0.4 °C
(31.3 °F). The highest temperature ever recorded in
47.2 °C (117 °F), recorded in June 2015. A low
temperature of −24.1 °C (−11 °F) was recorded in
January 1969. Snow is infrequent in the area. Annual precipitation
is only 201 millimetres (7.91 in); March and April are the
wettest months, and summer drought, from late June to September, is
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Climate data for Ashgabat
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average rainy days
Average snowy days
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source #1: Pogoda.ru.net
Source #2: NOAA (sun, 1961–1990)
Museums include the
Turkmen Fine Arts Museum and Turkmen Carpet
Museum, noted for their impressive collection of woven carpets as well
as a Turkmen history museum and the
Ashgabat National Museum of
History, which displays artifacts dating back to the Parthian and
Persian civilizations. The Academy of Sciences of
Turkmenistan is an
important institute of higher learning.
Ashgabat was also home to the
Arch of Neutrality, a 250 ft (76 m) tall tripod crowned by a
golden statue of late president
Saparmurat Niyazov (also known as
Turkmenbashi, or leader of all Turkmen). The 50 ft (15 m) high
statue, which rotated in order to always face the sun during daylight
hours, was removed on August 26, 2010 after Niyazov’s successor,
current president Berdimuhamedov, made it clear earlier in the year
that the statue was going to be taken out of Ashgabat’s parliament
square. In 2011 a
Monument to the Constitution was built, its
total height of 607 ft (185 m) makes it the second tallest
building in Turkmenistan.
Alem Cultural and Entertainment Center was recognised by Guinness
World Records as the world's tallest Ferris wheel in an enclosed
Ashgabat Flagpole is the fourth tallest free-standing
flagpole in the world, standing at 436 ft (133 m) tall. The
Ashgabat Fountain has the world's greatest number of fountain pools in
a public place.
Ashgabat also features
which is the tallest tower in Turkmenistan, the decorative octagonal
Star of Oguzkhan is recognized as the world's largest architectural
image of the star and entered in the Guinness World Records.
Oguzkhan Palace, the official presidential headquarters.
Ruhyýet Palace, a place for official state events, forums, meetings,
Wedding Palace, is a civil registry building.
Main Drama Theatre, named after first president Saparmurat Niyazov.
Turkmen Drama Theater, named after Mollanepes, a famous national
writer who lived in the past centuries.
Turkmen National Theatre of Youth, named after Turkmen ruler Alp
Turkmen State Puppet Theater
State Russian Drama Theatre, named after Russian poet Alexander
Turkmen State Circus
Parks and squares
Ashgabat has many parks and open spaces, mainly established in the
early years of the Independence and well maintained and expanded
thereafter. The most important of these parks are: the Botanical
Garden, Güneş, Turkmen-Turkish friendship, Independence. The oldest
city park, Ashgabat, was founded in 1887. In the center of
Ashgabat is the Inspiration Alley, an art-park complex which is a
favorite place for many locals. The amusement park World of
Turkmenbashi Tales is a local equivalent to Disneyland. Squares: 10
Turkmenistan Independence, Magtymguly, Eternal Flame, Zelili,
Chyrchyk, Garashsyzlyk, March 8, Gerogly, Dolphin, 15 years of
Independence, Ruhyýet, 10 ýyl Abadançylyk.
Halk Hakydasy Memorial Complex
Halk Hakydasy Memorial Complex
Halk Hakydasy Memorial Complex was opened in 2014 in remembrance of
those killed in the
Battle of Geok Tepe
Battle of Geok Tepe during World War II, and to
commemorate of the victims of the 1948
Ashgabat earthquake. It is
located in the southwestern part of the city.
Ashgabat has several cinemas. In 2011, Aşgabat Cinema, the first 3-D
cinema in Turkmenistan, opened in Ashgabat. The Watan and
Turkmenistan theaters were reconstructed.
Ärtogrul Gazy Mosque, a gift from Turkey, was inaugurated in 1998 and
resembles the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
Mosque in Keshi district
Mosque in the 8th Microdistrict
Alexander Nevsky Church (founded in 1882, dedicated in 1900)
Church of Saint Nicholas the Miracle-Worker
House of Prayer of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Chapel of the Transfiguration, Ashgabat
The main sporting venues in
Ashgabat are the Olympic Stadium, Ashgabat
Stadium, the National Olympic ice rink, Sports complex for winter
sports and the Olympic water sports complex.
Ashgabat was chosen as the host city of the V
Asian Indoor Games
Asian Indoor Games and
Martial Arts, and was also the first city in
Central Asia to host
the Asian Indoor Games. In 2010, an Olympic Village was built in the
south of the city. It is aimed to be completed by 2015, at a cost of
The city's professional football clubs Altyn Asyr, FC Ashgabat, HTTU
FC Hazyna play in the Ýokary Liga, the top flight of
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Turkmenistan
Twin towns and sister cities
Ashgabat is twinned with:
Athens, Greece
Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
View of Ashgabat
Ashgabat TV Tower
Serdaryň Saglyk Ýoly - The longer walk of health, viewed from the
View of the
Ashgabat skyline from the
Ashgabat city park
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aşgabat.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Ashgabat.
Ashgabat Photo Gallery
Ashgabat (in German)
The city of white marble
Ashgabat Photo Gallery. Pictures of modern Ashgabat.
Page on modern
Ashgabat (in Russian)
Pre-1948 photo of Baha’i House of Worship in Ashgabat
Ashgabat International Airport
Ashgabat International Airport unofficial
Tourism in Ashgabat
Ashgabat from "Abassayoh"
Capitals of Asia
Dependent territories and states with limited recognition are in
North and Central Asia
West and Southwest Asia
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Pyongyang, North Korea
Seoul, South Korea
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† Disputed. See: Positions on Jerusalem.
Cities of Turkmenistan